As products containing cannabis and other psychedelics become legal in varying degrees in different countries, it has become big business

Patents Speakers
Right Body

The session will focus on differences between jurisdictions in procuring and enforcing such rights, identifying regions where rights may be easier or harder to establish, and also in addressing recent updates in the law.

How can companies in this new arena protect intellectual property rights in their products, methods and branding?  

What are the options for enforcing such rights – if they can be procured?  


MODERATOR: Donna A. Tobin - Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld (US)

Donna A. Tobin focuses her practice on intellectual property and has been providing large and small clients in various industries, including the health and wellness, financial services and food and beverage industries with trade mark litigation, prosecution, and counselling services for over 35 years.

Intellectual property is at the forefront of new technologies and industries and Donna continually adapts and expands her practice to address new entrants, such as cannabis and non-fungible tokens ("NFTs").

In 2017 Donna was appointed by the US Secretary of Commerce to serve a three-year term on the Trademark Public Advisory Committee ("TPAC") of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office including as a member of the Office of Policy and International Affairs subcommittee. She is also the editor of Trademarks Throughout The World, a Thompson Reuters publication. 

Dr. Carmela De Luca - Bereksin & Parr (CA)

Carmela De Luca is a partner with Bereskin & Parr LLP and a previous member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Carmela is a lawyer and registered patent agent in Canada and the United States and practices in all areas of intellectual property, focusing on patent matters, particularly for life science companies. She advises clients on strategic global aspects of obtaining and managing patent portfolios, as well as in the preparation and procurement of patents and industrial designs. She works closely with clients including start-ups, universities as well as multinationals in preparing and prosecuting patent applications relating to biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biologics, diagnostics, green technologies and other areas in the life sciences. Carmela is also active in the analysis of patent issues such as validity, infringement and freedom to operate.

While obtaining her PhD from McGill University, Carmela conducted research in the areas of inflammation, signal transduction and virology. Prior to earning a law degree, Carmela worked as a post-doctoral fellow at a research institute of an international biotechnology company where her research focused on cancer cell biology, genetic engineering, genetic screens and genomics. Her educational and research background provides her with a depth of knowledge and experiences to assist her clients in a wide range of cutting edge technologies.

Carmela is the founding and Emeritus Co-chair and steering committee member of the Greater Montréal Chapter of Women in Bio (WIB). She is also the current co-chair of the Young WIB (YWIB) committee organizing STEM events for high school students. She has been a faculty member of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada’s (IPIC) Patent Drafting Course and regularly presents at the IPIC/McGill Summer Course. She is actively involved in supporting entrepreneurs and regularly lectures on the fundamentals of IP. Additionally, Carmela is a member of the Advisory Board of the Clinical Innovation Platform (CLIP) of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (2021-2023 and 2024-2026 terms).

Dr Claire Gregg - DCC (AU)

Claire Gregg's practice involves assisting clients to obtain patent protection for innovations in the chemical and pharmaceutical fields, including securing extensions of patent term for pharmaceutical patents. She also conducts patent oppositions and procedural hearings before the Australian and New Zealand Offices, provides advice in relation to patent strategy, validity and infringement, and assists in patent litigation.

Claire began her scientific career at Flinders University studying a Bachelor of Technology (Forensic & Analytical Chemistry) followed by a Bachelor of Science with first class honours, for which she was awarded the University Medal. She then completed a PhD in organic chemistry, focusing on the total synthesis and structural elucidation of complex biologically active natural products. Claire’s research in synthetic organic chemistry continued at the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute of the University of Melbourne, before she took up a postdoctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University in the United States. Her postdoctoral research focused primarily on hit-to-lead optimisation of small molecule inhibitors of protein-protein interactions in highly validated cancer targets, as part of a multidisciplinary team in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute.

Claire commenced training as a patent attorney in 2013 at a large patent attorney firm in Sydney, and gained further experience in contentious patent matters at a top-tier commercial law firm before joining Davies Collison Cave in 2020. Claire is a Fellow, Council Member and Director of the Institute of Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys (IPTA), the peak professional body for patent and trade mark attorneys in Australia. She currently co-convenes the Membership and Member Services Committee, and is an active member of the Patents Committee and Media and Communications Committee. She also previously co-convened the Future Directors and Public Relations Committees, and was a founding co-convenor of the “young” IPTA (YIPTA) committee dedicated to engaging and supporting junior members of the patent and trade mark attorney profession.

In addition, Claire is a Director of the Global IP Alliance (GLIPA), which promotes IP education and awareness, diversity and inclusion, and IP ecosystem collaboration worldwide. She is also the founder of IP Encompass, a collaborative partnership between several IP organisation across Australia and New Zealand dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging in the Trans-Tasman IP community.

Claire has been awarded the prestigious John McLaren Emmerson QC Essay Prize (formerly the Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand (IPSANZ) Prize) three times: first prize in 2014 for her essay on the patentability of isolated nucleic acids in Australia; second prize in 2017 for her essay exploring whether Swiss-style claims should be eligible for patent term extension; and first prize in 2019 for her essay on Australia’s controversial ‘best method’ requirement. She has also been awarded a Certificate in Patent Law and Global Public Health “PatentX” from Harvard Law School and the World Intellectual Property Organization.